Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

A Palestinian wounded in an Israeli airstrike is carried into a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip yesterday (OSV News/Ahmed Zakot, Reuters)

The situation in the Gaza Strip is “extremely catastrophic” and people are dying not only from violence but from preventable illnesses, the CEO of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said yesterday. Source: OSV News.

“People are really losing their life because of no treatment, no medical care,” Sami El-Yousef said.

The supplies that are being allowed in are being transported from Egypt into southern Gaza Strip.

“There have been no supplies allowed into the northern part of Gaza,” including Gaza City, where most Christians are sheltering in the Catholic and Orthodox parishes, Mr El-Yousef said.

He said that during January, a black market has sprung up, and things such as medicine and blankets were being sold for 10 times the amount they sold for before Israel declared war on Hamas in retaliation for an October 7 land and air attack launched by the militant Islamic group.

At the beginning of the war, a Gaza medical clinic run by the Catholic charitable agency Caritas transferred most of its medicine stock to Holy Family Catholic Parish, but all of those supplies are now depleted, Mr El-Yousef said.

Of the approximately 800 Christians sheltering at the two parishes, seven have died “from medical neglect.” One 35-year-old died when his appendix ruptured and he could not get to a hospital; the rest were elderly. At least five women over 80 have fallen and have injuries that prevent them from walking, he said. Five or six remain injured from a December sniper attack; their injuries do “not appear life-threatening … but they need treatment.”

Israel began a blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2007, after Hamas militarily took over the Gaza Strip.

Mr El-Yousef said before the current Israel-Hamas war, Israel was allowing about 600 truckloads of aid into the territory. Now, he said, about 200 truckloads are allowed in each day, and Israeli soldiers search each truck multiple times so that nothing can be smuggled in to help Hamas. He said the list of prohibited items is growing; for instance, incubators and oxygen machines are forbidden.

The World Health Organization said in mid-January that of the 36 hospitals operating in Gaza before the war, only 17 remain functioning.


Jerusalem Church official: Gaza situation ‘extremely catastrophic’ (By Barb Fraze, OSV News)


‘People here are in despair’: One doctor’s experience at a hospital in Gaza (SBS News)